The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa men’s basketball’s season comes to close with 91-82 loss to Utah in NIT

Hawkeye Payton Sandfort shot a season-low 1-of-11 from the field as the team couldn’t overcome a late first half run from the Utes.
Shaely Odean
Members of the Iowa men’s basketball team react during a mens basketball game between Iowa and Wisconsin at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024. The Hawkeyes defeated the Badgers in overtime, 88-86.

The Iowa men’s basketball team’s season came to an end Sunday night with a 91-82 loss to Utah in the second round of the NIT. 

In what could be his final collegiate game, Patrick McCaffery led all Hawkeyes with 19 points and four rebounds. Josh Dix logged 14 points and four rebounds, followed up by Ben Krikke, Owen Freeman, and Brock Harding with 12 points apiece. Payton Sandfort finished the game with a season-low of five points on 1-of-11 shooting from the field. 

Iowa missed its first three field goals before Owen Freeman’s turnaround jumper put the first points up on the board two minutes in. As for Utah, the team started the game going 0-for-5 from the field before converting an and-one finish off the fastbreak. 

After both teams shot 2-for-13 combined from the field through the first four minutes, the next two minutes saw the Utes convert their next four field goals while the Hawkyees shot 3-of-4 as Utah took the 12-9 lead. 

Utah’s offensive rhythm stayed present while Iowa’s offense became stagnant, going 1-for-5 over a four-minute stretch before Freeman made a free throw and a McCaffery powerful dunk broke the cold streak. The highlight play seemingly woke up the Iowa offense, with five different players converting baskets over the next five minutes to bring the Utah lead down to 32-27. 

But multiple mistakes from the Hawkeyes combined with the Utes’ amped-up pressure on both sides of the ball led to a 13-0 Utah run to push the lead to as far as 18 with just under three minutes to go in the first half. After the collapse, the Hawkeyes ended the half on a 9-3 run to cut the lead down to 48-36 after 20 minutes of play. 

Freeman led the charge for the Hawkeyes in the first half with 11 points and three blocks. Josh Dix was the second-leading scorer after 20 minutes of play with six points, followed up by McCaffery and Brock Harding’s five points apiece. 

Gabe Madsen’s 19 points led the Utes while Deivon Smith logged an all-around statline of 10 points, six assists, five rebounds, and three steals to propel the 12-point lead at the half. 

McCaffery scored four of the Hawkeyes’ first six points of the second half to bring the Utah lead down to single-digits for the first time in over eight minutes of play. Josh Dix and Ben Krikke scored 11 of the next 12 as Iowa cut the lead down to 59-54 with over 12 minutes to go. 

But the Utes refused to back down, extending the lead back up to 18 over the next five minutes. With the season on the line, the Hawkeye offense slowly began to step up with buckets from Freeman, McCaffery, and Sandfort while holding Utah to just one point to shorten the lead down to 80-67. 

Despite Iowa holding Utah to without a field goal for almost four minutes, the Hawkeyes couldn’t buy a bucket on the other side of the floor. Payton Sandfort and Brock Harding’s late contributions weren’t enough as the Hawkeyes watched their season wind down to the final buzzer.

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About the Contributors
Chris Meglio
Chris Meglio, Sports Reporter
Chris Meglio is a first year student at the University of Iowa studying a double major in sport studies and journalism. He will be working as a sports journalist for The Daily Iowan covering women's volleyball for the fall sports season.
Shaely Odean
Shaely Odean, Photojournalist
Shaely Odean is a transfer student at the University of Iowa, currently in her third year. She is pursuing double majors in Journalism and Strategic Communications, as well as Sustainability Sciences. Shaely works as a photojournalist for The Daily Iowan, and her passion lies in environmental issues. Before joining the University of Iowa, she attended Kirkwood Community College, where she served as the photo editor for the Kirkwood Communique.